« PreviousContinue »
must report it back to the house without amendments, and there make their opposition.
The natural order in considering and amending any paper is, to begin at the beginning, and proceed thro' it by paragraphs; and this order is so strictly adhered to in parliament, that when a latter part has been amended, you cannot recur back and make any alteration in a former part. 2 Hats. 90. In numerous assemblies, this restraint is doubtless important: But in the Senate of the United States, though in the main we consider and amend the paragraphs in their natural order, yet recurrences are indulged: and they seem, on the whole, in that small body, to produce advantages overweighing their inconveniences.
To this natural order of beginning at the beginning, there is a single exception found in parliamentary usage. When a bill is taken up in Committee, or on its second reading, they postpone the preamble, till the other parts of the bill are gone through. The reason is, that on consideration of the body of the bill such alterations may therein be made as may also occasion the alteration of the preamble. Scob. 50. 7 Grey, 431.
On this head the following case occurred in the Senate, March 6, 1800: A resolution, which had no preamble, having been already amended by the House so that a few words only of the original remained in it, a motion was made to prefix a preamble, which having an aspect very different from the resolution, the mover intimated that he should afterwards propose a correspondent amendment in the body of the resolution. It was objected that a preamble could not be taken up till the body of the resolution is done with. But the preamble was received: because we are in fact through the body of the resolution, we have amended that as far as the amendments have been offered, and indeed till little of the original is left. It is the proper time, therefore, to consider a preamble: and whether the one offered be consistent with the resolution, is for the House to determine. The mover indeed has intimated that he shall offer a subsequent
proposition for the body of the resolution; but the House is not in possession of it; it remains in his breast, and may be withheld. The rules of the House can only operate on what is before them. The practice of the Senate, too, allows recurrences backwards and forwards for the purposes of amendment, not permitting amendments in a subsequent, to preclude those in a prior part, or e converso.
When the Committee is through the whole, a member moves that the Committee may rise, and the chairman report the paper to the House, with or without amendments, as the case may be. 2 Hats, 289. 292. Scob. 53. 2 Hats. 290. 8 Scob. 50.
When a vote is once passed in a Committee, it cannot be altered but by the House, their votes being binding on themselves. 1607, June 4.
The Committee may not erase, interline, or blot the bill itself; but must, in a paper by itself, set down the amendments, stating the words which are to be inserted or omitted, Scob. 50. and where, by references to the page, line, and word of the bill. Scob. 50.
SEC. XXVII. REPORT OF COMMITTEE.
The chairman of the Committee, standing in his place, informs the House that the Committee, to whom was referred such a bill, have, according to order, had the same under consideration, and have directed him to report the same without any amendment, or with sundry amendments, (as the case may be,) which he is ready to do when the House please's to receive it. And he, or any other, may move that it be now received. But the cry of 'now, now,' from the House, generally dispenses with the formality of a motion and question. He then reads the amendments, with the coherence in the bill, and opens the alterations, and the reasons of the Committee for such amendments, until he has gone through the whole. He then delivers it at the Clerk's table, where the amendments reported are read by the Clerk, without the coherence, whereupon the papers lie upon the ta
ble till the House at its convenience shall take up the report. Scob. 52. Hakew. 148.
The report being made, the Committee is dissolved, and can act no more without a new power. Scob. 51. But it may be revived by a vote, and the same matter recommitted to them. 4 Grey, 361.
SEC. XXVIII. BILL, RECOMMITMENT.
After a bill has been committed and reported, it ought not, in an ordinary course, to be recommitted. But in cases of importance, and for special reasons, it is sometimes recommitted, and usually to the same Committee. Hakew. 151. If a report be recommitted before agreed to in the House, what has passed in Committee is of no validity; the whole question is again before the Committee, and a new resolution must be again moved, as if nothing had passed. 3 Hats. 131. note.
In Senate, January, 1800, the salvage bill was recommitted three times after the commitment.
A particular clause of a bill may be committed without the whole bill. 3 Hats. 131. or so much of a paper to one, and so much to another committee.
SEC. XXIX. BILL, REPORT TAKEN UP.
When the report of a paper originating with a committee is taken up by the House, they proceed exactly as in committee. Here, as in committee, when the paragraphs have, on distinct questions, been agreed to seriatim, 5 Grey, 366. 6 Grey, 368. 8 Grey, 47. 104. 360. 1 Torbuck's deb. 125. 3 Hats. 348. no question needs be put on the whole report. 5 Grey,
On taking up a bill reported with amendments, the amendments only are read by the Clerk. The Speaker then reads the first, and puts it to the question, and so on till the whole are adopted or rejected, before any other amendment be admitted, except it be an amendment to an amendment. Elsynge's Mem. 53. When
through the amendments of the committee, the Speaker pauses, and gives time for amendments to be proposed in the House to the body of the bill: as he does also if it has been reported without amendments; putting no questions but on amendments proposed: and when through the whole, he puts the question whether the bill shall be read a third time?
SEC. XXX. QUASI-COMMITTEE,
If on motion and question, the bill be not committed, or if no proposition for commitment be made, then the proceedings in the Senate of the United States, and in Parliament, are totally different. The former shall be first stated.
The 28th rule of the Senate says, "All bills, on a second reading, shall first be considered by the Senate in the same manner as if the Senate were in committee of the whole, before they shall be taken up and proceeded on by the Senate, agreeably to the standing rules, unless otherwise ordered: [that is to say, unless ordered to be referred to a Special Committee.] And when the Senate shall consider a treaty, bill, or resolution, as in Committee of the Whole, the Vice President, or President pro tempore, may call a member to fill the chair, during the time the Senate shall remain in Committee of the Whole; and the chairman so called, shall, during such time, have the powers of a President pro tempore.
The proceeding of the Senate as in a Committee of the Whole, or in Quasi-Committee, is precisely as in a real Committee of the Whole, taking no questions but on amendments. When through the Whole, they consider the Quasi-Committee as risen, the House resumed, without any motion, question, or resolution to that effect, and the President reports that the House, acting as in a Committee of the Whole, have had under 'their consideration the bill intituled, &c., and have ⚫ made sundry amendments which he will now report 'to the House." The bill is then before them, as it would have been if reported from a Commitee, and
questions are regularly to be put again on every amendment; which being gone through, the President pauses to give time to the House to propose amendments to the body of the bill; and when through, puts the question whether it shall be read a third time.
After progress in amending a bill in Quasi-Committee, a motion may be made to refer it to a Special Committee. If the motion prevails, it is equivalent in effect to the several votes that the Committee rise, the House resume itself, discharge the Committee of the Whole, and refer the bill to a Special Committee. In that case, the amendments already made fall. But if the motion fails, the Quasi-Committee stands in statu quo.
How far does this 28th rule subject the House when in quasi-committee, to the laws which regulate the proceedings of committees of the whole? The particulars in which these differ from proceedings in the House, are the following: 1. In a committee every member may speak as often as he pleases. 2. The votes of a committee may be rejected or altered when reported to the House. 3. A committee, even of the whole, cannot refer any matter to another committee. 4. In a committee no previous question can be taken. The only means to avoid an improper discussion, is to move that the committee rise and if it be apprehended that the same discussion will be attempted on returning into committee, the House can discharge them, and proceed itself on the business, keeping down the improper discussion by the previous question. 5. A committee cannot punish a breach of order in the House, or in the gallery. 9 Grey, 113. It can only rise and report it to the House, who may proceed to punish. The 1st and 2d of these peculiarities attach to the quasi-committee of the Senate, as every day's practice proves, and seem to be the only ones to which the 28th rule meant to subject them. For it continues to be a House, and therefore, though it acts in some respects as a committee, in others it preserves its character as a house. Thus, 3, it is in the daily habit of referring its business to a special committee. 4. It ad